I AM too tired to write an Issue of the day so I am just going to cut and paste my diary below….April Fool! They say laughter is the best remedy and today may offer some welcome relief.

It is a historic event?

The precise origins of April Fools’ Day remain a mystery, although some historians believe it may date to the 1500s when France switched to the Gregorian calendar, replacing the Julian calendar where new year began with spring equinox, around April 1. Those who were slow to catch on that new year was now January 1 became the butt of jokes and this could have sparked the annual tradition of pranks and hoaxes.

Other theories are…?

In Geoffrey Chaucer’s 14th century collection, The Canterbury Tales, he makes a reference to a fox tricking a rooster on “32 March” which would make it April 1.


April Fools’ shares some striking similarities with the ancient Roman festival, Hilaria, a springtime event held on or around March 25, from which the word ‘hilarious' dates. Followers of the cult of Cybele would dress up in disguises and mock fellow citizens.

Either way?

It spread throughout Britain during the 18th century and in Scotland, the tradition became known as “hunting the gowk” - “gowk” meaning a fool. People would be sent on made-up errands and then sent on from one house to another as the joke continued.

This year?

Due to the crisis facing the world, the tradition is likely to inspire mixed views as to whether it is a good idea to raise a smile, or simply inappropriate.


The internet giant has cancelled its tradition of marking of the day this year. It was among the first tech firms to popularise pranking web users. Going back to 2000, it said it had new technology - 'Mentalplex' - to read users' minds to determine what they wanted to search. Then last year, Google Netherlands said it had created new technology to communicate with tulips. Google said jokes will most likely return next year.

Past pranks?

Among the most famous hoaxes remains the BBC’s 1957 Panorama, featuring a three-minute segment on spaghetti farms in Switzerland where pasta grew on trees. The report said that, due to a mild winter and the “virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil”, the town of Ticino was enjoying a bumper spaghetti harvest. Viewers rang in the BBC in droves asking for tips on how to grow their own spaghetti.

A whopper?

In 1998, Burger King published a full-page advertisement in USA Today newspaper to promote the launch of its new “Left-Handed Whopper, specially created for the 32m left-handed Americans”.


On the BBC Sports show Grandstand in 1989, a fight broke out in the newsroom behind presenter Desmond Lynam as he calmly talked about upcoming events to be covered, such as the Grand National at Aintree. After a few minutes, the “fighters” held up a sign saying “April Fool”.